Expressive entities: An Exploration and Critical Reflection on Poetic Engagements with Technology

Young Suk Lee

Research output: ThesisPhD Thesis - Research UT, graduation UT

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The overarching motivation of this thesis is to open new ideas on designing aesthetic interactions in everyday technology, moving beyond goal-directed utility to more nuanced, experimental, and even challenging interactions. My research endeavor is to impact human value by creating critical and imaginative technology-human relations. In particular, I design digital expressiveness to accommodate sensitive human sides before highlighting digital beings’ effective performances. In doing so, I strive for expressive yet thoughtful computational embodiments that empower humans to be expressive, reflective, explorative, and connected to each other. To bring these conceptual experimentations into tangible experiences in people’s lives, my research is based on designing interactive artifacts called “Expressive Entities”.

To carry on this research outline above, I pursue an integrated approach from 1) conceptual and 2) methodological sides to steer 24 design explorations that underpin this thesis. First, I built conceptual experimentations on imagining what could present “Poetic Engagements with Technology”. Essentially, Poetic Engagements allow humankind to be protagonists who feel, sense, perceive, choose, and appropriate the engagements with technology, and avoid defining human beings from a generalized and filtered result through a technological lens. The outcome of this conceptual framework is composed of Four Poetic Interaction Possibilities: Expressive, Felt, Meditative, and Ludic Tech. Second, I open methodological development that bridges the conceptual exploration to design practice through “Experimental Making”. In particular, I propose art practice strategies and values in designing through three practice components, Defamiliarization, Creativity, and Imagination. This approach incorporates critical design perspective and imaginative ideas into material explorations and fluid assemblages for designing new aesthetic interactions. These two main research streams are correlated and complementary, introducing new concepts, embedding metaphors, and developing sensual aesthetics to expand thoughtful human-technology relations, bringing poetic experiences into life.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Twente
  • van der Voort, Mascha C., Supervisor
  • Ludden, Geke Dina Simone, Supervisor
  • Özkaramanli, D., Co-Supervisor, External person
Award date15 Jun 2023
Place of PublicationEnschede
Print ISBNs978-90-365-5638-5
Electronic ISBNs978-90-365-5639-2
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2023


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